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Sweet, Sweet Fig Banana

Sweet, Sweet Fig Banana

by Phillis Gershator, Fritz Millvoix (Illustrator)

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Despite some appealing views of Caribbean customs, poor pacing and clumsy transitions mar Gershator's (Tukama Tootles the Flute) latest effort. A boy named Soto spends nine long months watching his banana tree grow and waiting for it to produce sweet fig bananas ("When the bananas gettin' yellow?" he asks his mother). In an abrupt shift, Soto goes to the market and visits the fraico man, who sells shaved ice and fruit syrup, and the hat man, who weaves his wares before Soto's eyes. He pops into the local library, too, to look at picture books. Then Gershator returns to the bananas, which have ripened at last. Debut artist Millevoix may help sustain the reader's attention with his primitivist paintings. Color is all-important: impressionistic strokes of paint produce rainbow-tinted flower beds; purple and orange houses shimmer on the ocean's edge. Ages 4-7. (Mar.)
School Library Journal - School Library Journal
Gr 1-3Soto, a young Caribbean boy, plants a shoot in his yard and waits for it to grow. He watches as the tiny green bananas emerge from the flower stem, and protects the maturing fruit from the greedy tree rat and thrushee bird. When the bananas are ripe, he takes them to his friends at the market, in thanks for the gifts they have given hima hat made of palm fronds, lime-flavored ice, and assistance at the local library. Haitian artist Millevoix's primitive style combines lush, vibrant landscapes and exaggerated features on the dark-skinned characters. With its rhythmic cadences, dialect, and exotic details, this story offers a pleasant slice of island life.Anna DeWind, Milwaukee Public Library
Ilene Cooper
Set in the Caribbean, this is the story of Soto, who plants a baby banana shoot in his yard. With the thrushee and the greedy tree rat watching, Soto cares for the plant until one day the bananas begin to turn yellow; he brings them to the market square, where his mother sells lottery tickets, fruit, and candies from a jar. As Soto wanders around the square, he gets a straw hat from one vendor and shaved ice from another, and the village librarian gives him a book to read. Although the bananas are selling fast in the market, Soto insists on taking the last three bunches to give to friends who have given things to him. Both story and art are alive with the flavor of the islands. The text is peppered with the sounds and dialectic nuances, and the pictures shimmer with the azure blues of sea and sky, the verdant greens of the trees, and the brilliant oranges, purples, and roses of the flowers. No matter where they live, children will understand Soto and feel close to him.
Kirkus Reviews
Soto plants a banana shoot by his home in the Virgin Islands and oversees its growth; the development of the fruit is watched not only by the boy, but by tree rats and thrushees as well. When the fig bananas are ripe, Soto's mother takes them to market to sell. This implies a further threat to Soto's bananas, one that is quickly defused when Soto is allowed to give some to his friends—the hatmaker, the fraico man, and the local librarian—all of whom have been kind to him. Gershator (Sambalena Show-Off, 1995, etc.) pens a sweet, sweet tale; newcomer Millevoix's primitive illustrations are rough but decorative, enhancing the story's exotic setting.

Product Details

Whitman, Albert & Company
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
8.32(w) x 10.33(h) x 0.35(d)
Age Range:
5 - 7 Years

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